Archive for September, 2009

My Office

September 21, 2009

My first project for my new job, The Texas Tribune, was never assigned. The startup ethos in the newsroom is such that we’re free to go down the roads of interest to us, explore, and even fall on our faces should that happen. In this case — my teammates and bosses were great sports in just ‘going with it’, despite having little idea what I was doing.

Anyway, I thought it would be perfect, conceptually, to ‘introduce’ our team members by putting them in scenes straight out of NBC’s ‘The Office’ opening sequence. Thanks to some outdoor shooting help from my photog friend Justin (who almost got a ticket for riding on my back bumper while shooting an Austin City Limits sign off the side of a tollway), it actually turned out as I imagined it in my head.

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Back in the USA

September 15, 2009
With mom in Budapest.

With mom in Budapest.

We lost constant internet connectedness for the last week as we traveled Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary by cruising down the Danube River. While we managed to check our emails once a day, not being tethered to the iPhone and other communications devices was a welcome break. I instead relished human connectedness – the kind with my family, the kind all too rare now that my mom, dad and brother are spread out across the globe.

The flights proved exhausting and frustrating as usual (but at least I didn’t have to spend the night in a baggage claim like that one night on the way back from China in 2007). Loved the Hungarians. One of our guides explained that being on the losing side of every war since the 17th century makes the people quite authentic and realistic — something that made us want to go back to Budapest, or as the locals say, Budapescht, quite soon.

Travel log:
Passau, Germany
Wachau Valley, Austria (includes cities of Melk and Dunstein)
Vienna, Austria
Budapest, Hungary
Esztergom, Hungary
Sturovo, Slovak Republic (just across the border from Esztergom)
Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Grein, Austria
Linz, Austria

And without further delay… the PHOTOS!!!

Europe Sept 09

Donau-ing It

September 8, 2009

This may be the only blogpost I get up this week, since we’re slowing floating down the Danube River in a skinny boat full of German senior citizens. Mom/Dad/brother Roger/Roger’s girlfriend and Mr. Stiles are all here; today we’re in Vienna, yesterday we were in the vinyeards of the Wachau Valley.

Internet access from the boat costs 40 euro an hour so we decided to live without it this week, with the exception of this current sojourn into a Viennese coffee shop to get amped up on caffeine and get a wifi fix.

Vienna’s shockingly beautiful — much like Paris but a totally different feel. Went on a long run along the Danube this morning and things were going well until my brother Roger joined and I suddenly tripped over a metal hook thing jutting out of the concrete. Bit it. Hard. But managed to not-seriously injure myself.

Should mention that the best part of this place, for me. Hot dog stands. Everywhere.

Thanks @austinchronicle!

September 3, 2009

The long-awaited Austin Chronicle Best of Austin 2009 awards are out, and I’m amused and honored to win in a category for tweeting. (Love me some co-winners Reagan and Flener, too. Rock on with your social media selves, boys.) And thank you, Austin Chronicle critics!

Best Televised Tweeters: Matt Flener, Reagan Hackleman, and Elise Hu
Twitter offers endless opportunities for info, elucidation, and, yes, embarrassment. But three local TV journalists have embraced the format wholeheartedly: city-beat reporters Matt Flener and Reagan Hackleman and Lege watchdog Elise Hu. KXAN’s Flener can be found on Twitter teasing stories and sussing out interviews; News 8’s Hackleman expertly balances his personal and professional Tweets; and we’re looking forward to tons more 140-character dispatches from Hu as she leaves KVUE for the new journalism nonprofit Texas Tribune. twitter.com/mattflener; twitter.com/rhackleman; twitter.com/elisewho

Office Space

September 1, 2009

“You see, what we’re actually trying to do here is, we’re trying to get a feel for how people spend their day at work… so, if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?”
—‘Bob Slydell’ in Office Space, by Mike Judge

Day one in the offices of Texas Tribune. Highlights included finalizing the camera equipment for my multimedia adventure, not getting mauled by any birds that like to fly inside Whole Foods at lunch, and the morning trip to OfficeMax for our notebook rations!

Entering OfficeMax for the big supply summit

Entering OfficeMax for the big supply summit

I’ve never worked at a brand new operation before, so I guess I always took for granted the trash cans and desks that were already in place before I started. Today, we actually bought stuff like that, which gave the day a certain student council feel to it. (Anyone who went to high school with me knows I love me some student council. We took  Plano vs PESH week very seriously.)

Launch isn’t happening until November, but I know fellow reporters are eager to get past these first days and start getting to the nitty gritty.  I’m just glad Lumbergh isn’t going to make me come in on Saturday.